Walton Arts Center partnership expands footprint in central Arkansas

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 200 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — The Walton Arts Center has partnered with the Little Rock Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Little Rock River Market, concert promoter Jim Green and the Riverfest Amphitheater to sponsor a four-part concert series in Little Rock.

The move gives the Walton Arts Center the ability to book big-name acts that are already playing close-by, such as country music star Luke Bryan, scheduled will perform at the Arkansas Music Pavilion (the AMP) on June 1. Bryan’s concert in Fayetteville was made possible by Green, who booked Bryan for a show at the Riverfest Amphitheater on the Arkansas River in Little Rock the next night.

It’s easier to get rising music artists — and seasoned ones too — when they can book at least two good-sized shows a day or two apart without too much of a drive in-between.

Staging a concert in Little Rock also helps the Walton Arts Center gain name recognition in central Arkansas.

The WAC owns the AMP. From the entertainment standpoint, the arrangement strengthens the Walton Arts Center’s ties in the touring concert market and broadens the network of entertainers it can lure to the AMP.

Green and his Memphis-based Green Machine Concerts, apparently has a great deal of contacts. Green is believed to book some of the biggest artists who play across the region.

Besides the Bryan concert at Riverfest Amphitheater on June 2, the series includes a show by Bon Iver at the amphitheater on June 3 and a performance by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers June 20 at Robinson Center Music Hall in Little Rock. The fourth show is still in the works.

Green, the arts center, the amphitheater and the Little Rock CVB will share in any profits — and losses — though  the concerts agreed upon by the partners are believed to be money makers, Beznoksa said.

“If the concerts do well, we’ll share in the revenue,” she said.

Green picked the WAC as a partner to add a nonprofit to the mix, she added.

Martin and his band played to a sold-out WAC audience about 18 months ago. It was one of the fastest-selling concerts in the history of the center, said Jodi Beznoka, vice president of communications at WAC. With more than 2,600 seats at Robinson (the WAC has 1,200) and Martin having played here so recently, the group decided Robinson was a good fit for Martin’s banjo/bluegrass show.

Watch The City Wire for news about the series' fourth show.